overview of Poland:
Polish economic growth surged ahead by six percent
in the first quarter of 2004, Economy Minister Jerzy
Hausner said, in the latest sign of economic
recovery as the country joins the European Union.
Hausner's statement on Polish public radio surpassed
expectations, being one percentage point higher than
the five percent growth expected by the government
for this year.
It is also higher than the 5.3 percent growth rate
forecast several days ago by the finance ministry
for the first three months of the year compared with
the same period of 2003.
In another sign Poland is emerging from the economic
woods, Hausner said Poland's current account "was
practically balanced" in the first quarter thanks to
a boom in exports to the European Union.
And the GUS national statistics bureau signalled
Poland's high unemployment rate, the expanding EU's
highest, had eased slightly in March to 20.5
percent, down from 20.6 percent a month earlier.
The new indicators come two days after another piece
of good news, in the publication of figures which
showed that industrial production leapt by 23.8
percent in March compared to the same month a year
Poland saw its economy turn the corner last year,
but it still faces a mammoth challenge reducing its
public deficit to join the euro zone and to pare
down the jobless rate.
The Polish economy grew by 3.7 percent in 2003,
compared to 1.4 percent a year earlier, after years
of economic weakness that followed a quick start in
the wake of the fall of communism in 1989.
While almost everyone was guaranteed a job in
communist-era Poland, the jobless rate rose sharply
in the mid-1990s. In preparations to join the EU and
amid a deep restructuring of its economy, Poland had
to shed hundreds of thousands of jobs in the mining,
steel and shipbuilding industries.
About 3.26 million of the central European country's
population of 38.2 million were out of a job, the
statistics agency said
Some useful sites
analysis of the macro performance of the Polish
analysis of the pace of change within the Polish
detailed analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of
the Polish economy as prepared by the BBC in the
virtual tour of the Polish economy as it prepared
for EU entry.